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Rameshwaram - Tracing the footsteps of Lord Ram

It all seemed like a fantasy at first. It was an auspicious full moon night. Goddess Parvati, dressed up in all the fineries, was taking the round of the Rameshwaram temple in a golden palanquin. The accompanying chants, smoke and drum beats added to the rare spectacle. The following round by Lord Shiva from his sanctum to the goddess’ almost seemed like a royal routine. And, why not, for, he is the Lord of the Lord here in Rameshwaram – literally meaning Ram’s god.

When Lord Ram returned to these shores after slaying Ravan in Lanka, despite being on the right side, he wanted to repent for the killings. He washed his hair at the spot now called Jada Teertham before worshipping Shiv. Where Laxman, Ram’s younger brother, took bath Laxman Teertham. It so happened that Hanuman was getting late in bringing a lingam from the Himalayas for the worship, so Sita built one from sand. The lingam in the sanctum of the Ramanathaswamy temple or the Rameshwaram temple is believed to be the same. And, the 22 tanks and wells in the temple’s periphery, called teerthams, are said to absolve the sins of human beings today.

The sheer process of bathing in their holy water relieved us of a lot of worldly burdens instantly. The day started with a beautiful sunrise casting amber hues in the sky and the calm seawater calling you to begin one of the most amazing experiences. 


We took a dip in the Agni Teertham (the sea shore) before proceeding to the temple precincts for bathing in the 22 teerthams. The resulting happy state of mind and being added colours and charm to the magnificent corridors with a never-ending train of columns and colourful ceilings leading to the sanctum sanctorum.

Before and after the epic war

The battle chapter for Ram might have had its beginnings in the forest of Panchvati, but it was at Gandhamadana Parvatham that it started for real. The highest point on the island, it is believed to be the same hillock from where Hanuman jumpstarted his flight to Lanka. The two-tiered temple had imprints of Ram’s feet on a chakra and gave us a splendid panoramic view of the region. Not far from the Ramanathaswamy temple is also Satchi Hanuman, where the ardent devotee brought to Ram the news of having found Goddess Sita and her jewellery (choodamani) as proof. With that crucial information and an army at standby all that was needed was planning for the war.

Now enters Vibhishan! With Bay of Bengal on one side and Gulf of Munnar on another, Kothandaramar Temple was where Ravan’s brother is believed to have met Ram and sought refuge. 

The temple sits on the southernmost tip of the island and was the only historical structure in the area to have survived the 1964 cyclone. Estimated to be anywhere between 500 and a thousand years old, this where Ram performed Vibhishan’s ‘pattabhishekam’ (ceremony marking his ascend to the throne of Lanka) after the Ravan was killed and the battle was over. Story in pictures: 

Further down the scenic road, to assure Lanka’s safety, Ram broke the bridge that was built to reach Ravan’s kingdom with his bow, the place hence called – Dhanushkodi.

Sometime on their way back to Ayodhya, Sita felt thirsty. To quench her thirst, Ram dipped his bow into the seawater and shot an arrow into earth from where a stream of sweet water emerged which continues to be so at Villoondi Teertham.

Quick tips:
1. Most of the temples in Rameshwaram do not allow photography and it is followed very strictly.
2. The weather changes from pleasant to scorching in a matter of few minutes, so be prepared.
3. Do not forget to check the various puja and special timings with the Ramanathaswamy temple administration for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Other spots to see:

Ruins of Dhanushkodi: The place still remains largely uninhabited since 1964. The reminders of that cyclone are everywhere, like the dilapidated railway station and the carcass of this church.

Pamban Rail bridge: Connecting Rameshwaram to mainland India, it was the longest sea bridge for almost a century. The double-leaf bascule section of the 2km+ long bridge is raised to let the ships pass through is still the star presence.

APJ Abdul Kalam memorial: Taking architectural inspiration from various national landmarks and built in yellow stone, the memorial is built on the resting spot of Dr. Kalam, with its four halls a walk through his life and achievements. 

Keep exploring Folks...
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2 comments:

  1. Very good post. Highly informative for travellers who want to visit Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu. Nicely written. Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Cedric for dropping by. Glad that you liked the post.

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